Matt Beleskey

Ducks capture Pacific Division title


The Anaheim Ducks are back in the top spot of the Western Conference standings. They’re also Pacific Division champions.

The Ducks, thanks to three unanswered goals, clinched the division with a 5-2 win over the visiting San Jose Sharks on Wednesday. The Ducks are also now one point up on the St. Louis Blues for the lead in the West, and two points back of the idle Boston Bruins for the Presidents’ Trophy.

This one was close throughout the first half of the game, with the Sharks evening the score at two goals apiece on a beauty from Logan Couture (click here to see the video), but the Ducks pulled ahead in the second period.

Patrick Maroon scored his second of the evening for the Ducks, giving them a 3-2 lead and chasing Antti Niemi from the game. But Matt Beleskey essentially put this one away with just over three minutes remaining in the second period, thanks to a sweet little toe drag around Sharks’ defender Brent Burns.

While the Sharks will still compete in the playoffs, Wednesday’s loss came with further bad news.

As per David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News, Sharks’ veteran center Joe Thornton left the game in pain in the third period.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.